TR by sunshiner
Wind: Light SW-southerly
Swell: 1m easterly
Water temp: 26.7°C
Tides: Low 05:58am (0.57m); High 11:46am (1.44m)
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: Lots at Halls Reef, a little at Jew Shoal
Participants: diesel, sunshiner
My trip distance: 12.3km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: Two and a half snapper frames donated.
I've had a poor run, fishing-wise, lately, with enough donuts in the last month to stock a shop. Last time I was out, only a few days ago, I hit Jew Shoal and dropped two decent fish, one to a weird bite-off, and the other to a puzzling failure of braid under very little pressure. So I was down two jig heads and at least three SPs, for no take home result. Things had to get better.
That put me under pressure today. I was 90% sure that snapper were present at Jew Shoal but failure to catch one today might make me question my tactics and techniques.
The carpark was empty; nobody camping in cars and vans. Holidays are over. Diesel, as usual, was there before me. The launch in near darkness was dead easy with a light SW land breeze. We parted company, diesel heading west and north, while I set course for familiar territory, Jew Shoal.
My plan was to use the breeze to gently move my yak over the reef while I fished two SPs, one hanging down 10m or so behind from a rod held in the stern rod holder, the other fished from the hand, working the surface to the bottom and back again, as often as it took to get a fish.
My first cast went out at 6:07am in beautiful conditions with an ideal drift speed and the shoal all to myself. Ten minutes later I was really peeved. My hand held rod is closely monitored, with the braid running over my index finger providing just a little pressure as the attached jig explores the water below. But this slight pressure had seemingly vaporised. The line was slack; I'd felt nothing. Reeling in I discovered that the jighead and SP were gone, and so was some of the leader, cut neatly as if by scissors. This was not a good start. I rerigged.
Soon afterward this rig picked up a small snapper, just legal, which I stowed. I was on the board but the monkey wasn't quite off my back yet.
After two drifts with no further action I opted to try a drift over one of my personal marks just north of The Pinnacles. Here, as we slowly moved along above the sunken landscape I at last spotted some decent bait patches on the sonar. This looked promising, and sure enough, when my cast jig head was drifting toward the bottom it got hammered with a typical snapper Whack! This was what I'd got out of bed at 4:30am for: the possibility of boating a decent snapper. So I played him super carefully until at last I could see the beautiful pink shimmering flanks. In went the gaff and he was mine.
My morning was made, and of course I immediately radioed diesel over at Halls Reef to let him know that I'd got my snapper, the one I'd specifically come out to get.
I could have gone home then, but decided to try to find the same bait patches again, by dead reckoning and use of the sonar. It took a little time, but soon I reckoned I was in similar if not exactly the same territory. The sonar echoes were similar and the depth was the same. This time I decided to try to predict a hookup and so broke into a live commentary which I recorded on my point-and-shoot Pentax while my GoPro was recording the visual aspects. A GoPro mounted in a waterproof case on a yak does not record voice very well.
Anyway, the two simultaneous recordings show what happened. Within a minute or so of my prediction that a hookup might be likely, the jig was grabbed by what was clearly a lively, but not large, snapper. But the fight rapidly got more vigorous and I recorded myself speculating out loud that the snapper may have been eaten by another fish. After yielding quite a bit of line to the fish, all resistance at the fish's end stopped and I retrieved what was left.
Movie (2:45) of this "catch" including live commentary.
Shortly after this, diesel let me know he was heading over to the shoal from Halls Reef and he duly joined me for a short time before we headed home together to make sure we beat the forecast southerly, which actually arrived suddenly when we were still 3km from Middle Groyne.
On the way we passed a few small and brief bustups of what could have been juvenile yellowfin tuna, or possibly small longtails.
Note that I intend to go through the GoPro material in the next day or so and produce a small movie or two from today's action. The movies will be posted here and on our FB page.
Thanks for reading and thanks to my companion, diesel, today for coming along.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPhone, iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
FREE iBook "Kayak Fishing Laguna Bay & Jew Shoal" for iPhone, iPad and Mac